The Best Point and Shoot Cameras for the Travelling Photographer

 

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When a photographer travels they often want to carry a compact camera that is low profile, has great image quality, is reliable, and that they can tote around to both have fun and be artistic. Despite how much we always talk about DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, they can slow you down so much more when compared to a good point and shoot fixed lens camera. While the typical moniker of a point and shoot camera has always been one that has been looked down on by many of the more bourgeois amongst us, these cameras have indeed become much better over the years. In fact, these compact cameras are so good now that it’s arguable that you don’t need an interchangeable lens camera.

Here are our favorite point and shoots that will make the travelling photographer drool.

Canon G1X Mk II

Canon G1X Mk II

Meet the point and shoot camera that we almost didn’t want to let go of: the Canon G1X Mk II. With a sensor slightly larger than Micro Four Thirds, intuitive ergonomic controls, and some of the best color rendition that we’ve seen in the industry, we wonder why Canon doesn’t try to do even more with the sensor found inside. This camera is almost pocketable, comfortable to hold, has a flipping touch screen, WiFi transmission, and a lens that starts at f2 at the widest focal length and goes down to f3.9 at its most telephoto option. But for the most part, a travelling street photographer will want to get up close and personal to their subject.

In our review we state,

There is a lot to love about Canon’s new G1X Mk II: the image quality, the great punch it gives for a small package, the dials, the buttons, the LCD screen, the feel. Honestly, we’re very smitten with this camera. In fact, as a Canon customer for many years, it gives me faith again that the company may return to try to innovate again like they did years ago. Granted, the G1X Mk II isn’t really an innovative camera, but there is a lot to the design that should have Fujifilm and Sony looking at it. Years ago, Canon Powershot point and shoots were the best that you could come across. These days, said companies are eating into the sales. But maybe Canon may start to change their ways again.”

Read the Review.

Buy Now: B&H Photo

Pro Tip: A point and shoot camera's shutter isn't harsh. Because of this, chances are that when you practice proper camera holding techniques that you'll be able to shoot more photos that are free of camera shake at lower shutter speeds.

Pro Tip: A point and shoot camera’s shutter isn’t harsh. Because of this, chances are that when you practice proper camera holding techniques that you’ll be able to shoot more photos that are free of camera shake at lower shutter speeds.

Sony Rx10

Sony RX10

With a one inch sensor at the heart of the Sony RX10 and a very wide range superzoom lens in front of said sensor, you’ve got yourself a superzoom camera with the largest sensor currently available. With DSLR styling, a full EVF, tilting LCD screen, and lots of manual controls there is almost no reason to not want the RX10 as your travel camera.

Looking forward to shooting some video? The RX10’s sensor is designed for it due to the way the readout works.

In our review, we state,

“The Sony RX10 is a surprising contender in the crowded marketplace for cameras. It’s a bridge camera for the consumer that wants the capabilities of a DSLR without the hassle of deciding which lens(es) to buy…My quibbles about zooming aside, the RX10 is the type of camera that makes you forget you’re holding a point-and-shoot.  It’d satisfy any hobbyist, traveler, and even some street photographers. Granted, it isn’t cheap, but for the price, you’re getting a good camera with a bevy of focal lengths at a fixed aperture. Most bridge cameras have a variable aperture throughout the zoom range, and the RX10 one-ups all of them.”

Read the Review.

Buy Now: Amazon

Fujifilm X30

Fujifilm X30

The Fujifilm X30 came with lots of new improvements over its predecessors. For starters, the company has ditched the OVF in favor of an EVF. There are also some extra ergonomic changes in the form of a dial around the lens ring and another exposure dial on the back of the camera. The interface has also changed and looks much sleeker. But what we’re most surprised by is the autofocus. Of any camera on this list, the Fujifilm X30 focuses the quickest. However, it also has the smallest sensor coming in at 1/2 inch. However, it still allows you to deliver some very beautiful images and drool over Fujifilm’s beautiful colors.

What we really like about the camera is just how comfortable it is in the hand when doing street photography. And like many other cameras, we’re going to remind you to not let the LCD fool you. The images tend to look a bit better when you underexpose them a tad, but when you bring them into software, they’re much different. This should go without saying, but if you’re on vacation and just shooting JPEGs then keep this in mind. However, you can shoot RAWs, convert the images to JPEGs in the camera, and then beam the images to your mobile device using the camera’s WiFi capabilities.

Otherwise, just be mindful of the battery life. It tends to be very weak and even dimming the screen won’t help much.

Read the first impressions.

Buy Now: Amazon

Ricoh GR

Ricoh GR

A 28mm f2.8 lens (equivalent focal length), APS-C sensor and a compact camera body: what more could you want? Well tag on great ergonomics for one handed use and you’ve got yourself the Ricoh GR. Though the camera is surely showing its age at the moment, it delivers stunning image quality, sharp images, and does it all with a very low profile camera body.

With extremely versatile RAW files, and fair to decent autofocusing, it’s no wonder why we gave the camera and Editor’s Choice rating.

In our review we state:

The Ricoh GR is a perfect travel camera with its 28mm focal length (and 35mm crop ability) as you can shoot just about anything with this lens. I would have really loved if it had an f2 lens over f2.8, but that’s only for real low light. I found that in most cases it was able to achieve an adequate shutter speed in all but the darkest of dark locations (like exploring a 1st century home underneath the city of Rome).  I’m coming away from this review and my trip with an incredible experience, and from a photographic standpoint, I was SO glad to have the GR with me. It was my constant companion at my side and with its fast reflexes I was able to capture those fleeting moments on my trip that would have otherwise been missed if I had to grab my camera out of my bag.”

Read the Review.

Buy Now: Amazon

Pro Tip: Point and shoot cameras can get you access where larger and more professional looking cameras can't go.

Pro Tip: Point and shoot cameras can get you access where larger and more professional looking cameras can’t go.

Panasonic LX100

Panasonic LX100

Though we haven’t reviewed the LX100 yet, this is the single camera that we are most excited about right now. With a Four Thirds sensor and a lens from f1.7 to f2.8 along with classic analog control dials, a compact body, and an EVF, there is very little to not like about the LX100. In many ways, this is the camera that many photographers have been waiting for. Micro Four Thirds cameras have sensors that are perfect for street photography due to their focusing speed and the depth of field that they offer at wider apertures. Considering that the lens on this camera was designed for the sensor, we’re super excited to see what it can deliver.

Read the first impressions.

Buy Now: Amazon